A strategy for rapid and efficient DNA sequencing by mass spectrometry

Hubert Köster, Kai Tang, Dong Jing Fu, Andreas Braun, Dirk van Den Boom, Cassandra L. Smith, Robert J. Cotter, Charles R. Cantor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Two methods of solid-phase Sanger DNA sequencing followed by detection with matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry are demonstrated. In one method, sequencing ladders generated on an immobilized synthetic template were resolved up to the 63-mer including the primer. Detection sensivity and resolution were sufficient for sequence analysis in the given range. This approach is particularly suitable for comparative (diagnostic) DNA sequencing. A second method that has the potential for high throughput de novo DNA sequencing is also presented; it uses immobilized duplex probes with five-base single-stranded overhangs to capture an unknown DNA template serving as primers for Sanger DNA sequencing. The power of mass spectrometry is demonstrated not only by its very high speed, but also by its ability to identify sequences that are not readable using gel electrophoresis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1123-1128
Number of pages6
JournalNature biotechnology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1996


  • DNA sequencing
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Solid phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering


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